She came home running
       back to the mothering blackness   
       deep in the smothering blackness
white tears icicle gold plains of her face   
       She came home running

She came down creeping
       here to the black arms waiting
       now to the warm heart waiting
rime of alien dreams befrosts her rich brown face   
       She came down creeping

She came home blameless
       black yet as Hagar’s daughter
       tall as was Sheba’s daughter
threats of northern winds die on the desert’s face   
       She came home blameless

  • Maya Angelou, “The Mothering Blackness” from Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water Fore I Die. Copyright © 1971 by Maya Angelou. Used by permission of Random House, an imprint and division of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.

  • Source: The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou (Random House Inc., 1994)

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